Chef Peter Gordon is better known for the culinary delights he serves at his Auckland restaurant The Sugar Club than he is for his scrap-booking prowess.
According to the man himself, at as young as four, Peter was in the kitchen, building his first recipe scrapbook. By six, he was cooking. And at age 18, he received his first big break – a chef's apprenticeship in Melbourne.
Here, we catch up with Peter ahead of the Hawke's Bay Winter F.A.W.C – an event created for foodies, by foodies.
Tell me about your involvement with F.A.W.C?
Peter: "Annie and the team at F.A.W.C have been asking me to come and enjoy the festival for years, but this is the first year my dates in New Zealand have coincided, so I'm pretty happy. When it comes to produce, there’s most of everything grown in Hawke’s Bay, there is so much choice. Artisan producers offering truffles, figs, mushrooms and cheese – it’s wonderful."
What do you think sets the culinary and hospitality industry apart here in New Zealand?
"Inquisitiveness, being open to many influences, being prepared to try things. Our foodie history is so recent that we have very few rules saying ‘you can’t do that!’. But the New Zealand foodie is still a relatively new phenomenon – compared to the average Tuscan or Mumbai veteran. But look at how well we’ve embraced it?"
What advice would you offer a young Kiwi chef looking to make a start in the industry?
"Work hard, head down, pick the right time to question your boss. But also only do this if you love this, because you’ll be working weekends while your mates are out."
What does the title ‘the father of fusion cuisine’ mean to you? How did you acquire this?
"It’s kinda nice and in many ways, more respectful now than when it was first used. I cook food from so many countries, so I guess it’s apt."
What’s your favourite dish to cook and why?
"That’s like asking for your favourite child. They change as the seasons change."
Who is your favourite person to cook for and why?
"I love to cook for my partner Al and friends at home, I’m most happy cooking a meal for eight."
Best street food you’ve ever experienced?
"Freshly squeezed pomegranate juice and a kebab in Istanbul."
Best fine dining experience?
"Soujiki Nakahigashi in Kyoto. The food is unbelievably wonderful and Mr Nakahigashi is the most delightful man."
Best piece of kitchen advice you've ever received from mum…
"Chips deep-fried in sunflower oil are so much nicer than those cooked in beef dripping."
Hawke's Bay Winter F.A.W.C will run from Friday, June 9 until Sunday, July 9. To learn more about F.A.W.C or secure your tickets to the event, see their website here.